Neethu Mohan Naik
Research Scholar in International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, MH, India
Around the world, women are victims of barbarity, and a man has continuously held the role of the culprit. The query arises here, is a man often the culprit, doesn’t he also get victimized? Who will resolve this question? The whole world gawks upon the male like he is some superman. When something wrong happens with a woman in any corner of the world, the men are criticised first no matter how decent he is. He will be labelled as “all men are trash” or “all men are dogs.” Men’s high suicide rates across various countries are also associated with their ineptitude of affirming or speak about their emotions.
The world is like a caravan, and this caravan is driven by both the genders, men and women. We need balanced support from both the genders to keep humanity alive. Around the world, women are victims of barbarity, and a man has continuously held the role of the culprit. The query arises here, is a man often the culprit, doesn’t he also get victimized? Who will resolve this question? The whole world gawks upon the male like he is some superman. When something wrong happens with a woman in any corner of the world, the men are criticised first no matter how decent he is. He will be labelled as “all men are trash” or “all men are dogs.” Men’s inability to speak about occurrences of sensitivity, death, pain, grief and loss often shoves them in depression and other mental health issues. Men’s high suicide rates across various countries are also associated with their ineptitude of affirming or speak about their emotions. This article is weaved around men’s abuse and how it is psychologically impacting on their mental health with the context of Indian society.
India is a patriarchal country where men are the head of the family in almost all the families except for the few. Being the breadwinner of the family, men have to go through a lot of effort, family pressures and their needs, family’s expectations and so on. They are not expected to convey their feelings or emotions because then society will disgrace his incompetency of being ‘man.’ Men are always judged through the lens of masculinity. Their likes and dislikes are evaluated too, for example, if a man likes pink colour he will be called ‘girlish.’ From the onset, he has been practised which toys to be played with, which colour is for him, and most importantly denying him from doing housework. Expecting him to be ‘manly’ all the time, the men have lost their ability to convey their feelings to anyone even if he wants to cry he can’t, which often leads to their mental health. Since childhood, they are told to keep their emotions to themselves, which gets piled up. In contrast, they get older and when the threshold of these accumulated emotions bursts, the results are often dangerous like aggression, stress, wallflower, depression and unstable mental health.
The expectations an Indian family has from a male child commences from what his profession should be to how much he should accomplish. We often hear family or parents warning their male child when he cries “boys don’t cry” which is the initial step toward quashing men’s potential to portray his emotions. The other day I was communicating with my male friends about their childhood occurrences. I was appalled when they disclosed something which we must never have expected to have happened to them. When one of my male friends and his friends were abused during their school days, the incidents mentally disturbed them because they dared not weep about it or confide their parents and suffered silently. When I raised a question why they could not speak about it, the response amazed me, they couldn’t confess to their parents because they thought they might get laughed at, or their parents would not take it seriously. They even feared that they might be called ‘gay.’ Statements like “be a man” “fight like a man” “you are a boy, don’t cry over petty issues” leaves lifelong impressions on a male child and to save himself from all the judgments he would not speak about emotional sufferings. A study attempted in 2007 on the silence of male child sexual abuse in India, and they found that 53.22 per cent children faced one or more forms of sexual violence; among them, the number of boys abused was 52.94 per cent. The study concluded that male children don’t report the abuse because of the patriarchal norms, the myth of superiority and due to their biology.
Since many years we have been discerning women are entangled in all sorts of mishandling and harassment. They are even allowed to cry and lower their emotional burden. Our society has stereotyped mysteries like physical, sexual and psychological violence could only happen to women, and men are held remorseful for the same. Women have many safety laws, organisations which protest for women’s rights, whereas men have no such security. When they are falsely denounced for something which they haven’t committed, it becomes arduous for them to get out of such a circumstance. To stay rooted in the society’s anticipations, men have neglected to address his feelings, share his dilemmas, and illustrate no sign of shortcoming worsens their mental spirit. From the law’s point of view, men’s security rights are so underrated and least spoken topic. It’s been ages now nobody enunciates male vitriol, pessimism they go through, family crises, bankruptcy etc. which steers them to suicide. Being head of the household men have to toil hard to make ends meet, whereas society reckons that it’s his obligation and in that way, men always have to remain tight. Men’s showcase of emotions raises a question on his masculinity and considers him as a man-child. Moreover, due to mental stress, suicide is one of the drastic steps taken by men to end their life.
As per the NCRB- 2018 (National Crime Records Bureau, India), suicide rates are higher among the males than women counterparts. Around 68.48 per cent of men committed suicide which is more significant than women 31.51 per cent (NCRB, 2018).
The above graph procures statistics which reveals the reason for suicides among men and women. The percentage of suicides in each cause is found to be high in the men. The most dominant purpose of the suicide among men is found to be family problems which are 20.05 per cent, followed by illness (12.10%), insanity/mental illness (5.28%), causes not known (7.47%) and other causes (8.47). Moreover, NCRB 2018 report on gender-wise victims of murder also portrays that 72.86 per cent male were victimized which is higher than women victims (27.14%). In addition, there is no data on crime against men in National Crime Bureau Records of India, is an example that men are reluctant to report the violence against them. In India, domestic violence is one of the brutal issues that prevail among married couples and women are the sufferer of the same. Due to altering in the socio-economic hierarchy of the family, domestic violence is not restricted to women only. Men also are abused emotionally, psychologically, sexually and physically. Men never reveal the violence he is confronting and keeps tight-lipped. Society and laws always favour women. In one of the recent violence against men investigations, it was observed that out of 1000 males, 51.5 per cent encountered abuse at the hands of their wives/intimate partner at least once in a lifetime. Laws like Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code 1983 have been widely played as a weapon by women to denounce men falsely. A violation of Section 498A, its objectives and its intents is on the surge with the woman frivolously making erroneous allegations against their husbands to get rid of them or merely hurting the family. Yet we always discuss women’s mental health, abuse, harassment and never uptight about the male-related matters which mostly goes underrated. These elevated suicides among men exhibit that how much they are burdened with the distress and depression.
As per the World Population Review Report for the year 2020, India’s suicide rank is 21, the total suicide rate is 16.3, and the male suicide rate is higher (17.8) than women suicide rate (14.7). If we seek to provoke alteration and equality among the entire gender spectrum, we require talk over both the gender’s problems sincerely. A widespread comprehension mandated to propagate the word on men’s mental health, encouraging them for emotional counselling. There should be robust men’s defence laws where they can rely on for righteousness. Excluding assertions like “boys don’t cry” could bring about a big difference in one’s mental health and motivating them to converse about how they feel, letting out the sensitivities and most prominently report the violence they face. We should often debate men abuse with the women issues too. At least once in a month, we need to ask our male family members about how they are feeling, to make sure they aren’t grieving silently. We need male-oriented surveys where they can openly share their problems and the world get to know their sufferings. Last but not least, the workplaces should execute gender non-biased workshops for their employees, especially for men, where they can take some juncture from their occupied schedule and reflect their psychological wellbeing.
i National Crime Records Bureau, 2018
ii World Population Review
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viii Arranged Marriages in India – Everything you Wanted to Know